Tech and Society Week
Join us for the first ever Tech & Society Week—a week of events across campus, exploring various issues at the nexus of technology and society. Whether you’re deeply immersed in these issues, or just curious, there are events for you.
Event and registration details are below. Please check back, as we will continue to update the schedule throughout March.
Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by April 1st to Haley Randall at Tech & Society: Haley.Randell@georgetown.edu
Schedule of Events
Monday, April 4, 2022
[4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.] MDI Spring 2022 Workshop: Beyond the Built-Ins: Bespoke Regression with Tensorflow with Dr. Nathan Wycoff
In any good intro statistics class, we’re hammered with the limitations and assumptions of our analyses without actually being told what to do when some of those assumptions don’t hold. In this workshop, we’ll go over how to perform classical and Bayesian inference on regression models in Tensorflow Probability, as well as go over a few ways to modify models to meet real-world issues, such as zero-inflation and outliers. Previous experience with linear regression is required and with python will be helpful.
This workshop will be held in-person and is only open to Georgetown University students, faculty and staff.
St. Mary’s Conference Room 326 // RSVP here
[5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.] Kickoff Reception
- Invite Only
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
[2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.] Conversation with danah boyd
- Invite Only
- Ethics Lab (201 Healy Hall) - Hilltop Campus
[4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.] MDI Spring 2022 Workshop: Beyond the Built-Ins: Bespoke Regression with Tensorflow with Dr. Nathan Wycoff (Day 2)
- St. Mary's Conference Room 326 // RSVP here
[4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.] Carpe DM: Exploring Intimacy in the Digital Age through Art
Is Venmo giving you FOMO? Has your relationship soft-launched on Insta? From Zoom birthdays and FaceTime dates to relying on dating and friend apps to meet people, technology shapes and influences our closest relationships. Tech shifts how we meet, engage with people, and maintain relationships—but are these influences good? Does technology actually bring us closer?
In this workshop, we will use visual media (drawing & collage) to explore how tech shapes our close relationships. At the end of the session we’ll combine our individual drawings to form a collective art piece to be displayed in Healy Hall.
- Ethics Lab (201 Healy Hall) - Hilltop Campus // RSVP here
[5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.] Fritz Fellows & Student Groups Happy Hour
- Invite Only
[8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.] Is Tech A Dependency of Public Policy?
As COVID sent the world into “lockdown” and unemployment rates sky-rocketed, websites for unemployment benefits in the United States crashed. As the public became eager for the vaccine, distribution efforts in several countries faltered due to poorly designed and implemented technology. Never has it been more clear that policy goals—even the least technical—depend on technology to accomplish their intended outcomes.
Join Emily Tavoulareas (Tech & Society) and Justin Hendrix (Tech Policy Press) on Twitter Spaces for a discussion about the role technology plays in the delivery of public policy outcomes. Speakers will include: Don Moynihan, Pam Heard, and Jasmine Tyler.
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
[11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.] Digital Dinosaur to Digital Service: Congress Arrives in the 21st Century
Behind the polarizing daily headlines, Democrats and Republicans have worked together to bring data, design, and technology to the floor and introduce the new House Digital Service. Boosted by a Select Committee on Modernization, Congress now has foundational capacity for data-driven lawmaking and is exploring technology tools to benefit a modern, democratic republic.
How will these changes impact the lawmaking process? Will they strengthen our Article One powers and rebalance the three branches of government? Can Congress become more responsive and capable of informed deliberation, discernment, and service to the nation?
- Ken Ward, Director, House Digital Service
- Marci Harris, CEO Popvox
- Leisel Bogan, Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs' Technology and Public Purpose Program, Harvard University and TechCongress Fellow
Beeck Center fellow Lorelei Kelly will moderate the conversation.
- McShain Large Lounge (McCarthy Hall near Leo O’Donovan Hall) - Hilltop Campus // RSVP Here
- Will be live-streamed on the Beeck Center YouTube page
[12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.] The Tech and Society Grand Rounds: Showcasing Georgetown Classes and Students
Tech & Society is hosting Georgetown's first cross-disciplinary, cross-campus, student presentation spectacle and extravaganza. In those ninety minutes, individual students and small student groups will present the work they have done in classes this semester. The point is to celebrate the diversity of methodologies, approaches, and disciplines taking place in our tech-and-society curriculum. We hope to showcase undergrads, masters, and doctoral students from a wide diversity of departments, schools, and campuses. The theory is that by putting a philosophy student before a foreign studies student and after a biology student, we might begin finding common threads that weave throughout our diverse approaches. We will also celebrate our students--the key ingredient that makes us great!
- ICC Auditorium - Hilltop Campus
[4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.] Beeck Center Mythbusting Panel + Mixer: "Open source isn't secure" and other myths
You come across many myths when you work in public interest technology. Here are just a few:
- Working with the government isn't fun.
- It's impossible to make change in a government role.
- Open source can't be used for government service delivery
- Technology means IT, and there are limited roles available.
All of these statements are false! Government and public service can be advantageous with many opportunities to create change at scale.
Join the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation for an interactive conversation and snacks! We’ll hear from others in the Tech & Society community about the myths we have encountered and busted.
The Beeck Center's Intergovernmental Software Collaborative team will facilitate this event.
- Beeck Center (ICC 100) - Hilltop Campus // RSVP here
Thursday, April 7, 2022
[1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.] All Streets Lead to Procurement
Teams across the US focused on improving state, territorial, and local government benefits and services delivery are increasingly encountering the age-old civic tech problem: that to build better digital products and infrastructure, we have to fix procurement.
Much of the discussions and efforts around procurement to date have focused on federal procurement, but state/territory and local procurement come with their own distinct complexities and challenges that are critical to address if we are to improve digital service delivery to the public.
Join the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation for a conversation diving deep into real issues facing better state/territory and local procurement, and the opportunities that the private and public sectors have at all levels to help non-federal jurisdictions buy tech better.
- Mariel Reed, CEO and co-founder of CoProcure, a cooperative contract platform for governments
- Camille Hogan, acquisition specialist at the US Digital Service leading a federal effort to support state/territory procurement
- Reilly Martin, senior program manager at Open Contracting Partnership and former Director of Product Management for the City of Boston.
The conversation will be moderated by Beeck Center fellow, Shelby Switzer.
- Virtual Event // RSVP Here
- Hosted by Beeck Center
[2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.] Book Talk: The Tech That Comes Next
Changing the way we use, develop, and fund technology for social change is possible, and it starts with each of us..
In their new book, The Tech That Comes Next: How Changemakers, Philanthropists, and Technologists Can Build an Equitable World, authors Afua Bruce and Amy Sample Ward outline a vision of a more equitable and just world along with practical steps to leverage technology to create it.
Join the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation virtually on Thursday, April 7, 2022, at 2:00 PM to hear from the authors of The Tech That Comes Next: How Changemakers, Philanthropists, and Technologists Can Build an Equitable World.
Beeck Center deputy director George Chewning will facilitate the conversation.
The first 30 Georgetown students and faculty who register for this event will receive a copy of the book. Note: georgetown.edu email address required.
- Virtual Event // RSVP Here
- Hosted by the Beeck Center
[3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.] Georgetown Technology & Society Distinguished Speaker Series: Advancing Human Values in a Digital Age
Our political conversations are increasingly arranged by algorithms which determine the ideas we see and the people we interact with. Algorithms treat us as statistical objects – bundles of predictive features that can be manipulated to drive engagement and ad revenue. Naturally we worry about privacy and manipulation. But there is another, less noticed, reason to worry. Running our civic life through algorithmically mediated discourse may be changing how we think of our fellow citizens. As we grow more savvy of the ways algorithms direct our attention, we are being primed to see the people we want to persuade in the same way the algorithms see us: as statistical bundles first and people second. Can the legitimacy of democracy withstand a shift from thinking of our fellow citizens as moral agents to thinking of them as just more data?
- Speaker: Regina Rini, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Moral and Social Cognition, York University, Toronto
- Title: Social media algorithms and democratic political culture
- Murray Room (5th Floor of Lauinger Library)
[6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.] Tech Policy Happy Hour
- Invite Only
Friday, April 8, 2022
[9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.] Towards Human-Centric AI: The Japanese Model
**Part of the Tech Institute's monthly Symposium Series on AI
Join us for our latest installment of the AI Governance Series, "Towards Human-Centric AI: The Japanese model", co-hosted by the Yale Information Society Project, the Georgetown Institute for Technology Law and Policy and the Georgetown Global TechNet Working Group. Following the panels of "The Geopolitics of Chinese AI" and "The Geopolitics of European AI", this upcoming panel will focus on the Japan's initiatives in AI Governance, learning about the policies and guidelines as well as some projects on AI and robotics which Japan is advanced in this area from leading experts in Japan. We hope you will be able to join us Friday, April 8th at 9:30AM ET to learn about how Japan is working in this field. The structure of the panel will be each panelist giving a brief presentation followed by QAs. It will be moderated by Kyoko Yoshinaga, Non-Resident Senior Fellow of the Georgetown Institute for Technology Law and Policy. Our panel includes Susumu Hirano, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Global Informatics, Chuo University; Hideaki Shiroyama, Director of Institute for Future Initiatives, Professor of Graduate School of Public Policy, The University of Tokyo; and Toshie Takahashi, Professor, School of Culture, Media and Society/the Institute for AI and Robotics, Waseda University.
The structure of the panel will be each panelist giving a brief presentation followed by QAs.
- Virtual // RSVP Here
11 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. // Careers in Public Interest Tech & Tech Policy
12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. // Lunch – This Week In Tech
Max Brossy has five years of experience in local politics and education. He has interned for the DC Council and a state senator in Los Angeles and worked for a community college foundation in Los Angeles County. Prior to that, he worked on multiple political campaigns throughout Los Angeles. His graduate studies have focused on economics, public management, geopolitics of energy, US defense policy making, urban law and policy, and innovation and public policy.
Max is from Los Angeles. He graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, where his undergraduate studies focused on classical western philosophy. In his spare time, he enjoys all things Star Wars, reading, traveling, and getting spoiled by his wife’s extraordinary cooking.
Esther is a J.D. candidate at Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) and an Allen and Erica Lo Endowed Tech Law Scholar with the Institute for Technology, Law and Policy (ITLP). As a Fritz Fellow, Esther is focused on modeling geopolitical competition to dominate technology markets in emerging economies and its effect on vulnerable groups. Esther is working with Executive Director April Doss, (Institute for Technology, Law and Policy), Professor Anupam Chander, and Dr. Meg Leta Jones (Communication, Culture and Technology) to develop the Global TechNet working group. The group aims to establish a Georgetown Institute-coordinated platform to convene and inspire interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and dialogue on global technology law and policy with a particular focus on perspectives from emerging and developing economies. Esther will also be working with the Center for Security and Emerging Technology to research and develop policies for inclusive digital standards in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Infrastructure.
Before pursuing her legal education, Esther worked for the U.S Department of State, serving as Political and Human Rights Officer at the Embassy in Tajikistan, Consular Officer at the Consulate in Guangzhou, and most recently as an Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, for which she received a top Department award for critical economic reporting. Esther has also worked as a fellow at the U.S. Mission to NATO and the Office of Russian Affairs. Esther completed her Master’s Degree in Regional Studies focused on National Security and Post-Soviet Politics at the Davis Center at Harvard University and worked at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs as a teaching and research assistant, focused on Ukraine and issues in American national security and the press. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and English with a concentration in Central Eurasian Studies and Diplomacy from the College of New Jersey. Esther is a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans, a Fulbright recipient, and was selected as a Forbes 30 under 30 in Law and Policy in 2019.
I’m currently in my 2nd semester of Data Science & Analytics Master’s, in the Computer Science department at Georgetown University. I did my Undergrad at Univ. Texas at Austin in Computational Biology. Most of my coursework and work experience has been in statistical inference, machine learning, Natural Language Processing, and general computer programming. My career goal is to work as a Data Scientist, or as another role in the field of Data Analytics. Hopefully my experience at the Beeck Center will shed some light on working in public policy, as an Analyst.
I’ll be working with Katie Wells, researching the on-demand service economy in D.C., to find out about the working conditions of delivery workers, the accessibility of delivery services to different wards, the impact of delivery-apps on city congestion, and much more.
Shriya is a sophomore in the College, majoring in Government with a minor in Statistics. As a Fritz Fellow, she is working with the Massive Data Institute and the Georgetown University Law Center on the Civil Justice Data Commons project, creating a repository for civil legal data in order to better understand eviction and debt. Outside of the classroom, Shriya also enjoys singing and running.
Paul-Emmanuel Courtines is a senior at Georgetown pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science and Government. In summer 2021, he was a software-engineering intern at Google Life Sciences (Verily) working on Project Baseline, a new clinical trials platform. He has previously interned at a London-based natural-language processing startup, TrueAI and currently serves as the Vice-President for IT at Students of Georgetown Inc., the largest student-run non profit in the US. As a Fritz Fellow, Paul-Emmanuel works on a joint project between the Massive Data Institute and CSET studying scientific disinformation and misrepresentation of academic findings in AI, nanotech, quantum and other technology topics.
Alex is a junior in the School of Foreign Service majoring International Politics and minoring in Statistics. He made his big leap from purely qualitative to data-driven research while participating in the Raines Fellowship program, during which he examined US-China narrative wars amidst the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of computational linguistics. As a result, Alex is particularly fascinated with the critical juncture between data and the social sciences, as well as how this space can transform our understanding of ourselves and the people around us. Beyond his research interests, he edits the science and technology section of The Caravel runs Georgetown’s Chinese Student Alliance.
As a Fritz Fellow, Alex is investigating the sources of scientific misinformation, the patterns of their proliferation, and their broader societal impact. He is really excited to learn new skills in the realm of data analysis and to uncover any other promises that this research experience holds.
Natasha Dolmon is a first year graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Emergency & Disaster Management at the School of Continuing Studies. She is collaborating with the state of Connecticut to assess the impact of, and determine the readiness of agencies to respond to, climate change-driven natural disasters on state-owned assets. Her fellowship is through the Massive Data Institute and the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation. Previously, she has worked as a project manager with federal and municipal consulting firms in Washington DC.
Katie Wells is a Fritz Fellow at Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture, and Technology program. She is a geographer who writes about the changing relationship between tech, labor, and cities. She has published findings in academic journals such as Urban Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Antipode, written for popular outlets such as Public Books and CityLab, and discussed the real-time impacts of her research in 60+ media stories in The Washington Post, NPR, ABC National News, CNN, Wired, Reuters, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Her studies have been cited by Axios, USA Today, Politico, and Business Insider. A native of Canton, Ohio, she has lived in D.C. for 17 years. Email Katie here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack is a senior in the College majoring in computer science and political economy with a minor in math. In the past summer, Jack worked with consultants to provide digital transformation solutions implementing NoSQL databases. As a Fritz Fellow, Jack works with the Massive Data Institute (MDI) and the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) to explore how scholarly articles may have been misrepresented to help spread misinformation. In his free time, Jack enjoys hiking and exploring new restaurants around the DMV.
Beba is a Ph.D candidate in philosophy at Georgetown University focusing on the philosophy and politics of emerging technology and artificial intelligence, online influence, and grey zone warfare. As a Fritz Fellow, Beba is exploring whether and how speaker identity is relevant in assessing influence campaigns. Her research is supervised by Professors Maggie Little and Laura Donohue, and she is working with the NatSec360 Research Team. Beba’s dissertation examines the ethical, political, and legal status of online influence efforts. She is also co-authoring a textbook for MIT Press on the philosophy of machine agency. In 2022, Beba will be a visitor at Cambridge University’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, and at Australian National University’s Humanising Machine Intelligence Project.
Previously, Beba worked as a Semester Research Analyst at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), and participated in the Stanford US-Russia Forum, where she researched US-Russia cyber cooperation. Beba holds a BA in philosophy and political science from Wellesley College (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), an MA in China Studies from Peking University, where she studied as a Yenching Academy Fellow, and was a Visiting Student at the University of Oxford. She speaks Bosnian fluently and studies Russian (low advanced) and Spanish (high intermediate).
Kyle is a student in the Law Center’s Master of Law and Technology program. He was born and raised in Lewisburg, PA. Kyle learned to make a website at age 12 and—after jobs delivering newspapers, providing janitorial service, prepping and delivering food, teaching youth sports, and performing clerical tasks—he created and ran a small web design and development consultancy. He obtained a BA in Philosophy from Northwestern University, where he authored an honors thesis focusing on Sartre’s “being-for-others”. Kyle spent the last 12 years as a full-time software developer and manager for several small- and medium-sized startups.
As a Fritz Fellow, Kyle will be conducting research on the topic of software development professionalism, focusing on the feasibility of enacting professionalism regimes and the effects they’d be likely to produce. This work will involve an examination of existing research on professionalism regimes more broadly and on previous and contemporary professional organizations, attempts at enacting licensing regimes, educational standards, and other work done towards professionalizing the software development vocation. Kyle’s work will attempt to identify areas for further research as well as impediments to and reasons for skepticism towards software development professionalism as a solution to problems stemming from the proliferation of digital technologies.
I was born, raised, and went to school in the heart of Silicon Valley in California. After graduating from college, I moved to Washington DC to pursue an interest in international development. Prior to returning to graduate school, I spent 6 years working at the World Bank in corporate communications. I am currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy degree at the McCourt School with an interest in the intersection of gender and tech policy. I will be working this semester with Katie Wells on researching the impact of delivery platforms on city life in DC.
Michael Kranzlein is a computer science PhD student at Georgetown University working on natural language processing and computational linguistics. His work focuses on modelling language meaning for computers and improving the performance of text-based models via calibration. As a Fritz Family Fellow, Michael is collaborating with faculty of the Department of Computer Science, the Law Center, and the Massive Data Institute on the development of automated systems for detecting relevant linguistic ambiguities in legal texts. This work is informed by his experience working on legal AI at Ernst & Young and his expertise in computational semantics and calibration.
Before Georgetown, Michael earned a master’s degree in computer science from Kennesaw State University and bachelor’s degrees in computer science and French from Belmont University.
Meera Kolluri is a former Program Assistant and current Graduate Fritz Fellow at Ethics Lab, where she conducts research and programming to support their Humane Technology Initiative. Kolluri is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Communication, Culture and Technology at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Georgetown University. Her academic focus lies at the intersection of ethical design, systems of surveillance, and technology policy. Her current projects assess methods and consequences of monetizing the human body through the use of technology. Kolluri advocates intersectional justice and equity practices at the forefront of her work. She aims to create systems of accountability and accessibility to ensure just technological innovation. Through the Fritz Family Fellowship, Kolluri’s work will examine the intersections of surveillance technology, cyberlaw, and design justice in various sectors, with the goal of supplementing theories of control with theories of care. Kolluri earned a dual Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Scripps College in Legal Studies and Politics.
Shuo is a PhD student at Georgetown University in computer science. His current research interest lies in the area of fault-tolerant distributed optimization algorithms and implementations, including distributed machine learning, specifically Byzantine fault-tolerant models. Prior to that, he obtained his master’s degree in computer science at Georgetown, and undergraduate degree in mathematics at Fudan University, China. His master’s thesis studied a type of possible privacy exposures of users on social media.
In collaboration with the Beeck Center and the Massive Data Institute J.J. is working with the Justice Innovation Lab (JIL) to identify potential racial disparities in incarcerations in local criminal justice systems. While not working at the JIL, J.J. is working on completing his PhD in Economics at Georgetown University, and consulting at the World Bank. His research utilizes spatial data and state of the art econometric tools to answer questions focusing on political economics. Prior to moving to D.C., J.J. finished his bachelor’s degree in physics at Rutgers-University Camden in Camden, NJ. He enjoys spending his free time camping and canoeing with friends and family.
I am a senior in the SFS majoring in International Politics and minoring in Chinese. As an MDI Scholar for the past three semesters, my work focuses on computational approaches to studying American political discourse and behavior. My research uses natural language processing to analyze Congressional candidates’ tweets and determine the drivers of virality on political Twitter. Given the power of social media in defining political discourse, the goal is to understand what sells on Twitter and to provide insights into polarization, misinformation, and voter behavior. I will continue this work under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Bailey as a Fritz Fellow, diving deeper into the political topics and forms of rhetoric that drive engagement and further polarization in different voter publics. In my free time, I enjoy playing chess and watching NBA basketball.
Joyce is a junior in the School of Foreign Service majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs with a minor in Computer Science. She first got involved with research on Tech Policy issues as a Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellow where she worked with Dr. Meg Leta Jones. Joyce has done research analyzing congressional hearings on Big Tech, policy and implementation surrounding contact tracing apps, and the history of Silicon Valley. Outside of the classroom, she also enjoys working with graphic design as creative director at Bossier Magazine and learning to beekeep with Hoya Hive. As a Fritz Fellow, Joyce is working with the Ethics Lab and the Communication, Culture, and Technology Department to better understand the ways in which existing systems of surveillance and cyberlaw policies uphold norms of control. Additionally, she and the team are utilizing design justice principles to think of ways of shifting these harmful systems.